Superintendent finalists expected to be chosen April 2

The search for a new full-time superintendent for San Juan Island School District is in full swing.

Search consultant John Fotheringham of Northwest Leadership Associates was hired to meet with faculty, staff, parents, students and other community members on March 19.

The field of candidates will be narrowed from five to three at an executive board meeting on April 2. The candidates will be interviewed on April 11. The two finalists will spend all day at the district on April 13-14. The new superintendent will be chosen sometime this spring.

The new superintendent will succeed Michael Soltman, who resigned to become superintendent of Vashon Island schools. His resignation is effective on June 30. He has been San Juan's superintendent since 2002 and is paid $108,400.

“We will miss Michael very much and will diligently search for a new superintendent who will actively advance our district's mission and passionately serve our school community,” School Board Chairman Boyd Pratt said.

The San Juan Island School District is working to reduce its expenses by $1,095,000 within the next two years. One of those expense reductions will come through the elimination of the middle school principal's position.

“We are trying to look toward saving money by consolidating positions within the central office,” Pratt said.

The new superintendent could also serve as academic dean at the middle school or oversee maintenance and operations. Currently, Rod Turnbull serves as athletics and facilities director for the school district.

School board members are opposed to sharing a superintendent with another district in the county because of the larger number of students served on San Juan Island and the traveling time between islands.

On Lopez Island, full-time Superintendent Bill Evans will serve as part-time superintendent in the 2009-10 school year. Currently, Lopez serves about 209 students.

Conservative budget spending by scrutinizing all purchase requests, reduced personnel expenses and reduction in staff development days are the key to having a more realistic working school budget, Evans said in a recent phone interview.

On Orcas Island, Superintendent Barbara Kline serves as part-time high school principal and part-time superintendent. The district overcame its financial difficulties by reducing staff and administration, she said. The district schools share one campus and have 439 students.

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